September 26, 2010

Reviews and charts September 26, 2010

Brand-New Reviews
ARTIST:  Balkanize!
TITLE:  Balkan Eyes
LABEL:  self-released

REVIEW:  Balkanize! describe themselves as “Richmond, Virginia’s only ensemble of old world Turko-Balkan folk music.”  This is their first recording, and it’s an excellent debut.  Performing other peoples’ folk music is fraught with issues, and this band navigates them quite effectively.  For starters, they’re quite facile on many of the exotic instruments that you typically hear in the region, like darbuka (the hand drum commonly used in this kind of music), saz and oud (two different styles of lutes, relatives of the guitar and mandolin).  Vocals can really be a challenge in this type of ensemble, especially when you’re singing in foreign languages.  But vocals turn out to be one of Balkanize!’s strengths: both Nancy Smith and Julie Bright are strong singers, and their harmonies (very much in the style of Hungarian bands like Muzikas) are truly superb.  Eight songs from eight different countries (perhaps in eight different languages?), all related but distinctly different, all performed with skill, energy and obvious pleasure and totally accessible to a general audience.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    1    2    7    8

Inside, there's a review of the new album by Argentina's Axel Krygier, and WRIR's world music charts for the last week.  Just click "Read More" ...

ARTIST:  Axel Krygier
TITLE:  Pesebre
LABEL:  Crammed Discs

REVIEW:  Here’s one of those inexplicable hybrids that make listening to and reviewing world music especially enjoying.  Axel Krygier is a musician and producer from Buenos Aires whose first instrument is saxophone, but he now records and performs primarily as an electronic musician.  He’s worked extensively on music for films, theater and dance, both in Argentina and throughout Europe.  His style is thoroughly post-modern, using influences like cumbia (tracks 1 and 8), blues (3, check out the great slide guitar playing) and circus music (6) in service of something that you might call Latin acid jazz.  It’s electronica that’s definitely for listening and not dancing, always tuneful even when it’s tongue-in-cheek.  Stuff like this gets filed as world music simply because there’s absolutely no category for it; better to label it as imaginative music that’s well worth a listen.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    1    3    6    8

New & Recommended At WRIR
Afro-Beat Airways: West African Shock Waves, Ghana & Togo 1972-1978 | (various artists) | Analog Africa
Antibalas | Who Is This America? | Ropeadope
Apples, The | Kings | Freestyle
Arby, Khaira | Timbuktu Tarab | Clermont Music
Balkanize! | Balkan Eyes | self-released
Bostich + Fussible | Bulevar 2000 | Nacional
Budos Band, The | III | Daptone
Debo Band | Flamingoh (Pink Bird Dawn) | self-released
Krygier, Axel | Pesebre | Crammed Discs
Matorralman | Guateque Estelar | Nacional
Orchestre National De Barbes | Rendez-vous Barbes | Le Chant Du Monde
Roots Of OK Jazz: Congo Classics 1955-1956 | (various artists) | Crammed Discs
Septeto Nacional | Sin Rumba No Hay Son | World Village
Soriano, Joan | El Duque De La Bachata | iASO

CMJ New World Top Ten
1 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Afro-Beat Airways: West African Shock Waves (Ghana And Togo 1972-78) | Analog Africa
2 THE BUDOS BAND |  III | Daptone
3 SEPTETO NACIONAL IGNACIO PINEIRO | Sin Rumba No Hay Son | World Village
4 THE APPLES | Kings | Freestyle
5 BALKANIZE! | Balkan Eyes | self-released
6 AXEL KRYGIER | Pesebre | Crammed Discs
7 BOSTICH + FUSSIBLE | Bulevar 2000 | Nacional
8 ANTIBALAS | Who Is This America? | Ropeadope
9 JOAN SORIANO | El Duque De La Bachata | iASO
10 D.O. MISIANI AND SHIRATI JAZZ | The King Of History: Classic 1970's Benga Beats From Kenya | Sterns

CMJ New World Adds
2 NATACHA ATLAS | Mounqaliba | Six Degrees
3 TOM ZE | Estudando A Bossa: Nordeste Plaza | Luaka Bop
4 VARIOUS ARTISTS | The Rough Guide To Bollywood (Second Edition) | World Music Network
5 VARIOUS ARTISTS | Salsa Explosion! The New York Salsa Revolution 1968-1985 | Strut

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